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W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation at CFT Awards $1.8 Million Grant to DCCCD Foundation - April 2013

photo of Miguel Nicoelis with students
The DCCCD STEM Institute announced the grant at its third annual summit, featuring neuroscientist Dr. Miguel Nicolelis.

Contacts: Laurey Peat, Laurey Peat and Associates, lpeat@lpapr.com, (214) 871-8787 or
Eddie Miranda, DCCCD Foundation, emiranda@dcccd.edu, (214) 378-1541

For immediate release — April 8, 2013

Grant will prepare high-achieving students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

(DALLAS) — W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) has announced a $1.8 million grant to the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Foundation to train the best and brightest students in the DCCCD STEM Institute.

The STEM Institute helps high-achieving students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) earn degrees and prepare for careers in their respective fields. Caruth Foundation’s grant will help reduce the shortage of workers and future teachers in STEM fields. Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of CFT, will work closely with the DCCCD STEM Institute to aid in its long-term sustainability program, evaluation and alignment to the statewide STEM effort.

“It’s vital to open the doors for hard-working students who want to pursue their dreams in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas. “DCCCD’s STEM Institute has transformed from a pilot program into a national model for helping students prepare for careers in these very important fields.” 

photo of STEM Summit speakers
Former STEM Scholar Kimberly DeBruler speaks on a panel at the third annual STEM Summit for DCCCD students.

“More than 90 percent of our past scholars who participated in the STEM Institute have either completed a degree, transferred to a university or persisted in their studies at our seven colleges,” said DCCCD Chancellor Wright Lassiter Jr. “This generous grant from the Caruth Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas enhances our ability to maximize students’ potential to earn their associate degrees, transfer to high-quality universities and create successful careers.”

The DCCCD STEM Institute announced the grant when it hosted its third annual summit on April 4 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field in Dallas. Internationally renowned neuroscientist Dr. Miguel Nicolelis spoke at the invitation-only event about the new frontiers of neuroscience to DCCCD STEM faculty and students.

A professor at Duke University’s School of Medicine and founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering, Nicolelis is an award-winning researcher whose work has been published in Nature, Science and Scientific American, and has been covered in Time and Newsweek.

“We were fortunate to have Dr. Nicolelis as our keynote speaker,” said Hunter L. Hunt, president and CEO of Hunt Consolidated Energy Inc. and the new board chairman of the DCCCD Foundation. “The fields of neuroscience and neuroengineering recently have accelerated breakthrough discoveries that will impact how our brains interact with machines, and Dr. Nicolelis is a global leader in this arena. Our scholars at the STEM Institute had a unique opportunity to hear him talk about his fascinating research and experiences.”

Created in 1973, the DCCCD Foundation supports students, programs and employees of Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland colleges. Together, the seven colleges of DCCCD enroll more than 80,000 undergraduate students each semester. More than 10 percent of these students transfer to universities to complete their degrees.

In its fourth year, the STEM Institute draws from more than 6,000 students who enroll each semester in advanced mathematics and science classes at all seven colleges in DCCCD’s system, pairs them with outstanding STEM faculty mentors, accelerates their studies and offers them a bridge to university degrees.

photo of Mohammed Alqaysi and Khalild El Hefni
STEM Scholars Mohammed Alqaysi and Khalild El Hefni participate in a roundtable discussion at the recent STEM Summit.

“STEM education is one of the key strategic priorities of DCCCD. Thanks to the Caruth Foundation, Educate Texas and Communities Foundation of Texas, our students will be better prepared to complete their degrees and become the next generation of engineers, scientists and educators,” said Lassiter.

Like many other parts of the U.S., Texas and Dallas County face a projected shortage of professionals in industries, businesses and schools related to STEM careers. By 2018, nearly 70 percent of such jobs in Texas will require a degree.

“The greatest driver of economic development in our community will be the quality and education of our workforce,” said Hunt. “With more than 700,000 jobs in STEM industries forecast for Texas by 2013, these STEM Scholars hold the key to the future success of our region.”

To help reduce the shortage of highly educated workers entering STEM career fields, CFT’s grant will provide 100 STEM Scholars each year with targeted paths to degree completion and opportunities for direct transfer to STEM programs at four-year colleges and universities. In addition to providing scholarships and student mentoring programs, the grant will pay for students to attend institute-specific events and seminars. The grant also funds the STEM Faculty Fellows Academy, which provides year-round development for mathematics and science teachers at DCCCD.

The $1.8 million grant to the STEM Institute is another example of the major impact that Communities Foundation of Texas is having on statewide education. Will Caruth’s commitment to improving education is part of CFT’s focus on ensuring that all students are prepared for success in life. In 2012, education was CFT’s top grant-making category, comprising 33 percent of the $69 million it distributed in the community.
One of Communities Foundation of Texas’ largest initiatives is Educate Texas, a unique public-private partnership dedicated to significantly improving the post-secondary readiness and success of low-income students, with a focus on students in low-performing schools. Funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Caruth, Educate Texas has invested almost $380 million in the Texas public school system and by 2013 has plans to impact 350,000 students, support 6,000 teachers and engage 100 superintendents, charter management organization leaders and higher education leaders.

One of its key local initiatives is the Early College High School model it has created across the state, including five that are partnering locally with DCCCD.

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About Communities Foundation of Texas
In 2013, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) marks its 60th anniversary of “Giving Back and Looking Forward.” As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, CFT works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grant-making initiatives. The foundation professionally manages nearly 900 charitable funds and has awarded more than $1.2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. As the foundation celebrates its 60 years of giving, CFT continues to evolve in serving the ever-changing needs of our community and beyond. Visit www.cftexas.org.

About W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas
In establishing his foundation in 1974 as part of the Communities Foundation of Texas, William Walter Caruth Jr.’s philanthropic goals were to support frontier-advancing projects in education, scientific research, medical advancement and public safety. He gave generously during his life to support the causes he believed in, and he left the bulk of his estate to CFT to continue to meet community needs today and well into the future with innovative investments.

About Dallas County Community College District Foundation
The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Foundation supports the seven-college district through leadership, innovation and resources. The mission of the foundation is to enhance the level of excellence of DCCCD and its seven colleges, their students, programs and employees. The colleges of DCCCD include Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Since its creation in 1973, the DCCCD Foundation has raised more than $80 million in private donations and has distributed more than $38 million in scholarships and grants. Visit www.dcccd.edu.